I was in my late 30s when I noticed the faint signs of my first wrinkle. It was along the left side of my mouth, evident when I smiled or was in deep thought. I was already using facial skin care products, but my infrequent use wasn’t enough. I upped the frequency and even attempted to modify my facial expressions.

The more I fretted about it, the more those lines popped up. Soon I had a matching crease on the right side of my mouth. Then a pair of creases appeared between my eyebrows, likely from frowning at children. Then the curved wrinkles above the eyebrows settled in, resulting from my frequent wide-eyed response to the latest misadventures my children engaged in.

I eventually gave up on wrinkle prevention, feeling this was an improvement over acne.

My view on aging: I wasn’t ready to be old. It was dreadful and something to fear. There was no way old age was going to creep up on me!

The 4th Decade:

The 40s didn’t creep; they roared into my life with a lot of screeching, hurtling, and careening! So did other signs of maturity:

Potty breaks become more frequent, especially at 5am. My attempts to limit fluid intake hours before bed backfire. I reluctantly accepted this change and responded by creating an obstacle-free path to the bathroom. No more Legos on the floor!

Grey hairs pop up. Plucking offers temporary satisfaction, but those grey hairs return with a vengeance in under 24 hours.

Wrinkles are permanent. Mary Kay consultants are suggesting eye cream or anti-aging serum…and I don’t have a Mary Kay consultant.

Stiffness: my neck and knees start to lock and grind. Sitting cross-legged is limited. I need a thicker pillow to support my neck. The doctor mentions ‘arthritis’ and asks about family history. The doctor also recommends more fiber, senior vitamins, and preventive health screenings.

My view on aging: I’m stagnant and fed up with the same old-same old. I seek new adventure and excitement. I pursue a new career as an entrepreneur, writer, and consultant. I recognize my marriage has come to an end and divorce.

The 5th Decade:

Those 5am potty breaks have become the most reliable alarm. Even when the electricity fails, I can count on the ol’ bladder to get me up.

Mammograms, colonoscopies, bone density and other medical tests are a yearly occurrence now that I’m a ‘certain age’. The ob/gyn discusses vaginal dryness and suggests coconut oil or olive oil as helpful lubricants. We discuss menopause and pursuing an active sex life. The 26 year old daughter is angry because Mom ‘gets it’ more than she does.

Grey hair: I cheerfully call them ‘sun streaks’; my family calls them silver tinsel. No worries—I’m happy with my new look! Men find me more appealing now than my earlier days.

My skin care routine includes anti-aging serum and sunscreen. I don’t worry about wrinkles anymore. It’s fun to laugh, think, and be expressive. The creases also intensify the evil eye when the grandchild misbehaves.

Service providers automatically offer a senior discount without proof of age. If they don’t, I ask. I’ve received some nice discounts from millennial employees at my favorite stores!

My view on being 50+: The true experience of being ‘older’ is the thrill and adventure of limitless possibilities. Until now, we were limited by society, culture, career, family, and anything else that tried to nail us in place. That life is behind us and now it’s time to live for us. Wrinkles, grey hair, and a few creaky joints aren’t keeping me from discovering my true self.

How are you enjoying your new life after 50?

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